1 Introduction to Reflective Practice

Presentation of the course, its purpose and methodology.

Presentation of the approach of Donald Schön for Reflective Practice and its importance in the 21st century.

Exercise: Experience of learning. Each student will be asked to remember a relevant learning experience, and to describe its process graphically. The analysis will consist of pattern identification and comparison with the known learning cycles.

Discussion on the learning cycles and their relevance for experiential learning.

2 The Practice of Reflection

Presentation of the concepts of reflect-in-action and reflect-on-action and their importance for learning from action and for learning how to be a reflective practitioner.

Introduction to the Critical Moments Reflection Methodology.

Exercise: Each student will be asked to step back into the learning experience of the first day of the course, the identification of the critical moments they lived, and the use of the critical moments for reconstructing the experience. The analysis will consist of the identification of similarities and differences among the learning experiences of the participants and of the drawing of lessons of this first day.

Discussion on the practice of reflection and its importance for learning how to reflect-in-action as a new level of professional awareness.

3 Ways of Knowledge Generation

Presentation of the diversity of methods of knowledge generation that humanity has been developing through time: experimentation, speculation, scientific method, statistical analysis, tacit knowledge discovery, imagination, design, modeling, gaming, reframing, conceptual innovation, searching, reflection, dialogue, etc.

Exercise: The students will work in groups, and will be put in contact with cases in which different methods of knowledge generation are used. The analysis will be about the usefulness and limitations of each method of knowledge generation.

The discussion will be on the methods of knowledge generation, their rationale, the areas of applicability of each method, the importance of science and of technology in the knowledge generation methods, and the reasons and limits of the positivist rationality and the need for reflective practice.

4 Theories, Knowledge and Practice

Presentation of the concepts of theory-in-use, knowing-in-action, espoused theory, and of tacit and explicit elements in action and in reflection.

Exercise: The students will work in groups, and will analyze cases of reflection-in-action. They will be asked to identify the use of people’s theories in their thinking process, which may be tacit or explicit. The analysis will be on the role played by the tacit and explicit elements that are supporting action and thinking.

The discussion will be about the importance of the tacit elements of knowledge that are supporting action and thinking.

5 Virtual Worlds and Their Role in Creative Work

Presentation of the concepts of virtual worlds, their characteristics in different professions: architecture, psychotherapy, engineering, etc., and their roles in professional practice, in reflection, in design and in training.

Exercise: The students will work in groups. Based on the readings in which Schön explains how virtual worlds are used, students will be asked to organize their main ideas about virtual worlds and their roles. (A different option for this exercise may be to ask the students to become acquainted with some computer games, such as Civilization III, and then describe the main features of the virtual world used and analyze its impact in the kind of strategies that the players undertake).

Discussion on how the virtual world we work with influences our understanding of the reality that is being modeled by this cognitive tool and how it impacts the options we are able to imagine.

6 Frames, Perceptions and Interpretations

Presentation of the concepts of framing and reframing and their importance for interpretation of phenomena, for broadening the capacity of managing complex situations, and for discovering solutions for complex problems.

Exercise: The students will work in groups to analyze a problematic issue, like the results of the last national elections, taking into consideration the perspective of different actors, like Democrats, Republicans, and independent analysts. Other issues that may be considered are immigration, perceived by different social groups, etc.

The purpose of the discussion will not be to decide which group is right, but rather to understand the rationale of each framing approach and discover the impact of these different framings on the conclusions and to the priority of actions that derive from them.

7 Reframing for Resolving Intractable Controversies

Presentation of the concept of intractable controversies and the role of reframing as a way of inventing solutions to complex problems that seem unsolvable.

Exercise: The students will work in groups to reframe their analysis made the day before in a way that generate a common ground that helps solve the controversy. After that each group will present their reframed proposition and the other groups will evaluate if they feel the proposition has been successfully elaborated.

Discussion on the challenges of reframing and the lessons learned from the two days exercise.

8 Reframing for Strategic Creativity

Presentation of the concepts of strategic entrapment, strategic creativity and of the role of reframing as a way of inventing strategies for triggering solutions for situations that would otherwise seem unsolvable. Some cases from warfare will be made for illustrating the concepts.

Exercise: The students will work in groups to reframe a situation where a group of population, or an organization, is facing a challenge that seams unsolvable. They explore different options for reframing the situation, and develop routes for solutions. After that they will compare the results of the exercise and their experience of reframing.

The discussion will be about the effectiveness of the different options and the cognitive posture required for reframing for strategic creativity.

9 Conceptual Learning

Presentation of the role of concepts for perceiving and understanding situations and phenomena and the importance of conceptual learning in an environment of rapid change and innovation. Discussion of why the shift from technical update to conceptual innovation is required.

Exercise: The students will work in groups to explore the last 10 years of history and identify a case where an innovative concept generated a breakthrough of change. Once identified the case they should identify which was the innovative element of the concept, its advantage and the impact of this new concept in society.

The discussion will be about the challenges for acquiring the capacity of going beyond the technical approach to problem solving and learning to be conceptually innovative.

10 Frontiers of Schön’s Approach and Its Relevance in the 21st Century

Presentation and discussion of the new advances post-Schön: the globalization of economy, the Internet, the dispersion of innovation, infotopia, wikipedia, the emergence of new methods of knowledge creation, the searching engine, the emergence of Asia, the global distribution of scientific edge, the invention and reinvention of the professions, etc.

A reflective dialogue about the importance of reflective practice for a professional to be aware of his cognitive resources, and to manage his practice and evolution in the environment of the 21st Century.

Discussion of final paper. This final assignment is a reflection paper in which students identify the most important lessons or knowledge gained from the course and how they intend to use these in their future professional work and/or development.

Course Info

As Taught In
January IAP 2007
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Videos
Lecture Notes
Written Assignments